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PHL scientists move to consolidate health research efforts in the country

The recent deaths of three government officials due to untested stem cell treatments has bought to light the lack of government oversight on human health research. The numerous stories on potential cures and a vaccine for dengue bring a lot of hope, but also concerns over the safety of these treatments.
The establishment of guidelines and government oversight failsafes on research safety and ethical human health research has finally come to fruition with the passage of Republic Act 10532 or The Philippine National Health Research System Act of 2013 (PNHRS) last June 1.

To help address the issues and challenges facing the Philippine research industry, the first public consultation for the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of PNHRS was held ON June 25  in Davao City.

Stakeholders from different sectors of the academe, the health industry, the public and private sector, different government agencies, local government units and the media were invited to help point out any flaws, inconsistencies or inadequacies in the draft IRR.
Two more public consultations will be held, tomorrow in Iloilo and next in Manila, before a final draft of the IRR would be submitted.
Basically, the PNHRS will serve as an integrated framework between health researchers and their stakeholders in order to promote, sustain and strengthen the research industry in the country. Its four core organizations, the Department of Science and Technology; the Department of Health; the Commission of Higher Education; and UP Manila National Institutes of Health, will be responsible in creating and implementing guidelines to ensure that all the health research registered within the system would meet technical quality standards and will follow ethical research guidelines.

The PNHRS will also provide financial, technical, and resource support for promising studies that would immediate potential benefits for Filipinos.
Nevertheless, certain issues about the Philippine research industry were not addressed as clearly as the participants wanted. Some of the notable concerns raised were where the PNHRS could get funding for the grants that it will provide to researchers; what guidelines are in place to protect participants in health research, particularly indigenous peoples and those in the marginalized sectors; how the PNHRS can help in supporting studies in terms of patenting and commercialization; how to protect the intellectual property rights of researchers; how to maximize student research; the creation of a research database or inventory; and how to effectively disseminate and share information about the studies under the PNHRS.

Scientific research and health research, in particular, have long been important and active components in the academe, the health industry, and certain government sectors. But Ms. Merlita Opeña, Chief of the Research Information, Communication and Utilization of the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD), says the establishment of the PNHRS has become necessary in order to ensure that Filipinos would reap the immediate benefits of any research study being held within the country. “Before, the DOST and the DOH had to enter into a memorandum of understanding or a MOA to collaborate” explains Opeña. “With the PNHRS we would be able to conduct these studies faster, with increased collaboration and with better quality without having to worry about changing administrations.”


Source: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/314458/scitech/science/phl-scientists-move-to-consolidate-health-research-efforts-in-the-country